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Fergie claims Sunderland truce

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he holds no grudge against Sunderland fans despite their final-day celebrations last term.

Sunderland supporters celebrated wildly after Manchester City dramatically won the Premier League on the last day of the 2011-12 season, just minutes after United defeated Martin O’Neill’s side 2-0.

Some Sunderland supporters started doing the ‘Poznan’, a celebration adopted by City fans, while others taunted United fans and players.

United face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and although Ferguson warned O’Neill’s men that he ‘wouldn’t forget’ those incidents at the end of last season, he has insisted that is not concerned by the fans’ actions.

“I think that’s modern society,” Ferguson told reporters. “You see a lot of that with supporters’ reaction to many things.

“I don’t think we can change that. It was disappointing and it’s hard to take these things with the way it all panned out. I thought we’d won it for 20 seconds and it was snatched away from us.

“There’s not any bitterness from my point of view. It happens and we move on. We’ve dusted ourselves down and made a really good challenge in the league this year.

“The concentration has been fantastic and the team spirit is really good. So, in that respect, we’ve answered it as best we can.

“So I don’t have any issues with the Sunderland fans. I don’t think the Sunderland fans wanted City to win it any more than we did.

“It was just a fact that they were our opponents that day and it goes back to what I was saying about present society.

“You see it with supporters every week. Wherever the fans are in opposite corners, they are venting their spleens at each other. It’s what happens in modern-day football.”

Turning his attention to other matters, Ferguson weighed in on debate about Rio Ferdinand’s controversial trip to Qatar.

The United defender attracted criticism for upholding broadcasting commitments in the Arab state during England’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino, a game he pulled out of due to fitness concerns.

Ferguson was not bothered by the trip in the slightest.

“They had the weekend off and players are entitled to do what they want,” the Scot said.

“They trained all last week and we gave them Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. He has his own choice with these things.”

On Ferdinand’s decision to withdraw from the England squad, Ferguson is satisfied the issue has been resolved after the centre-back met England coach Roy Hodgson to explain his decision.

“He did the right thing to go down and see Roy,” he said. “I encouraged him to go down and do it face to face.

“He needed to explain how we handle him now and how he prepares for games. I think Roy appreciated that.”

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Fri 29 March, 2013
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